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Investigation into second inflatable death

Katie Coyne05/07/2018 - 14:22

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Ava-May fell to her death
Ava-May fell to her death

Experts have been drafted in nationwide to help with the investigation into the death of a three-year-old girl who was thrown 10m in the air by an inflatable.

Ava-May Littleboy was playing on an inflatable trampoline on Gorleston beach, Norfolk, on Sunday morning when she was thrown into the air.

Witnesses said they heard a loud bang and that those close by tried to catch the little girl before she hit the ground. Many news reports speculated that the inflatable somehow exploded.

Lifeguards at the scene performed CPR while waiting for an ambulance team to arrive. The incident happened around 11.15 and the three-year-old was taken to James Paget Hospital but sadly died.

A Home Office post mortem suggests she died of a head injury but further investigations are being carried out to confirm this.

The family wrote in a statement: ‘She was not your ordinary little girl, as anyone she met, she would leave a lasting impression on.

‘Anyone that met her would not want to forget her. Her infectious laugh and smile could light up even the darkest of rooms.’

Supt Roger Wiltshire from Norfolk Police said: ‘My understanding is that the mother had a conversation with the stall holder and the child went on the equipment.

‘The trampoline was designed just for one person to use and she was the only person there at the time. As far as I understand her mother was watching nearby.

‘I am a dad myself and I cannot imagine what the family are going through.

‘You go to a place like Gorleston for a day out and then this happens.’

The East of England Ambulance Service said it received more than a dozen calls and dispatched several teams, the first arriving on the scene within four minutes.

A statement read: ‘The young female was seriously injured and in cardiac arrest on our arrival, and was conveyed to James Paget Hospital. Sadly, despite all of the efforts and interventions, she was pronounced deceased.’

MPs are now calling for a ban on bouncy castles and other inflatables as this incident follows the tragic death of Summer Grant in 2016, who died of multiple injuries after the bouncy castle she was playing on got blown away. The two fairground workers operating the inflatable were recently jailed.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon, for Harlow, Essex, where Summer died, called for an investigation and temporary ban.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘After two horrific tragedies, government need to look at update of regulations and inspection regime and consider temporary ban on bouncy castles in public areas until we can be sure that they are safe.’

Labour MP for Bristol West Thangam Debbonaire also backed the temporary ban and tweeted: ‘As with a product recall. Parents need answers.’

Conservative MP for Winchester Steve Brine has also backed the ban.

It would be difficult for a traditional bouncy castle to explode, as they have to be continually filled with air to keep them upright. However, the inflatable Ava-May was playing on had no permanent pump and has been likened to an air-bed.

Norfolk Constabulary are investigating alongside HSE and Great Yarmouth Council. A police cordon was still in place around the scene on Tuesday and police said it would remain there until specialists finished examining the trampoline.

Police are still calling for anyone who witnessed the incident that they haven’t yet spoken to, or who may have recorded it on their phone, to get in touch with Norfolk Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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